Enrollment Surprise

Fall 1998 enrollment is up at least 3.5 percent, with as many as 450 new students more than expected. Bob Hannigan, vice provost for Enrollment Management, said that this came as a surprise, as new upper-division transfer and first-time student numbers were both higher than initially projected.

Last fall, after initiating many new recruitment strategies—better marketing, finding the right marketing niche, and keeping in touch with prospective students—there were increased applications, but no increase in the rate of enrollment for those applicants. This fall, the rate of enrollment for total applicants jumped.

In the first week of the semester, there were 12,845 FTE. This number fluctuates during the first few weeks as students are disenrolled for non-payment of fees and then re-enrolled when payments are made. Even with this fluctuation, enrollment is up. Hannigan said, "Although we planned to manage enrollment for 2 percent above the FTE for which we were budgeted, the 3.5-4 percent increase presents a challenge. We are scrambling, across campus, to add classes."

Although this is certainly good news in light of the enrollment drop of six years ago, there is a resource and budget problem created by too many students. "We can't afford to run so far out in front of ourselves that we can't keep up with class offerings. That, in turn, can affect enrollment in a long-term and negative way," said Hannigan.

"To maintain a balance between number of students and resources, the university may be in the position of limiting the size of the 1999 freshman class," said Hannigan. "Even so, competition for students in California continues to intensify. We'll need to improve our admissions and persistence programs if we wish to maintain our gains."


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